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Welcome back to the Trentonian's Full-Court Press blog. Yes, we're still alive, and with the 2015-16 season rapidly approaching, it's time to fire up the old blog for another season. Check back here throughout the year for updates on all things Rider and Princeton, including coverage of both the MAAC and Ivy League. Feel free to drop me a line on twitter @kj_franko ( or email

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Look ahead to Rider's game against Manhattan

Who: Rider (3-11, 0-2) at Manhattan (9-5, 2-0)

When: Monday, Draddy Gymnasium, 7 p.m., 107.7 FM The Bronc.

Last time out: Rider lost to Stony Brook, 79-62. Manhattan def. Binghamton, 94-51.

Background: Two rounds of MAAC games are in the book and the long haul starts Monday. In tune with the rest of their season, the Broncs are behind the proverbial 8-ball after dropping both games.

Manhattan (71-55 winners in Lawrenceville) can complete the season sweep Monday night and heap more misery on Tommy Dempsey’s scuffling club.

“We have a huge game,” Dempsey said. “They would be 3-0 in the MAAC and we would be 0-3 so they can kind of put us in the rearview mirror right off the bat.”

To salvage anything from this season, Rider is going to have to make some noise in conference play. Dempsey still thinks there is a gap between Iona, Fairfield, Loyola and everybody else.

So he's preaching, "don't get swept" to his players.

“If you sweep a team early, it really gives you a leg up,” Dempsey said. “We feel it’s important that we get that game back because we didn’t feel like we played real well the first time.”

Avoiding the sweep won’t be easy. First-year coach Steve Masiello is doing yeoman’s work in Riverdale. The Jaspers, who won six games a year ago, are easily the most improved team in the league with nine wins already to their credit.

They’ve won six of their last seven thanks largely to the play of George Beamon. The junior guard is averaging an outstanding 16.6 points per game, scoring in double figures in 13 of the team’s 14 games (he didn’t play against Columbia).

Danny Stewart and Jeff Jones both average 13.4 points per game to lead the Broncs. Brandon Penn is coming off back-to-back double-doubles, averaging 18 points and 12.5 rebounds in those two contests.

“That first league game is really big for us,” Dempsey said. “I think everybody knows that.”

Projected starting lineups: Rider: G-Jon Thompson (Jr., 7.6 ppg), G-Eddie Mitchell (Fr., 4.4 ppg), F-Brandon Penn (Sr., 10.9 ppg), F-Danny Stewart (So., 13.4 ppg), C-Dera Nd-Ezuma (Jr., 2.4 ppg)
Manhattan: G-Michale Alvarado (So., 8.3 ppg), G-George Beamon (Jr., 16.6 ppg), G-Mohamed Koita (Jr., 2.5 ppg), F-Emmy Andujar (Fr., 8.3 ppg), F-Roberto Colonette (Sr., 6.9 ppg).

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